Scottish Place Names

Whats in a Scottish Placename_Front Cover

Around 1200 Scottish place names, grouped by region with a pictorial map for each region. Do the place names have meanings? What is the origin of each name? What are the associations with the place?

This user-friendly and beautifully illustrated book introduces us to the fascinating origins of Scotland’s place names. The Scottish landscape is varied and dramatic. Many places were named because of a natural geographical feature, such as a river, mountain or bog. Others are named after an owner or a human purpose, such as a crossing place or an enclosed piece of land.

The book is divided into geographical areas, from Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway, with a pictorial map showing the position of each place name. In addition there are symbols denoting prehistoric sites, areas of Pictish or Roman association, as well as battles, castles or distilleries. The illustrations give an atmospheric flavour of the landscape of each area of the country.

What is it that makes so many Scottish placenames so distinct? What accounts for the appeal they have, especially to an English speaker coming from outside Scotland? What is it that has made many Scottish place names seem like precious antiques, almost like familiar, solid, owned parts of the physical landscape, so much so that you can often hear the natives take a quiet delight in the simple act of uttering a place name?

Many languages and cultures influenced the naming of places over the centuries. What’s in a Scottish Placename? examines origins from Btittonic-Pictish and Cumbric, as well as Old English, Old Norse and Gaelic. There is a pronunciation guide for place names which originate from Gaelic, notoriously tricky for English speakers.

Find out more about the origins of place names in Scotland’s two biggest cities in Edingow and Glasburgh.

Sample pages

What's in a Scottish Placename?

Wha't in a Scottish Placename?